The predicament of refugees is a common concern of humankind. Refugee situations have increased in scope, scale and complexity and refugees require protection, assistance and solutions. Millions of refugees live in protracted situations, often in low- and middle-income countries facing their own economic and development challenges, and the average length of stay has continued to grow. Despite the tremendous generosity of host countries and donors, including unprecedented levels of humanitarian funding, the gap between needs and humanitarian funding has also widened. There is an urgent need for more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees, while taking account of existing contributions and the differing capacities and resources among States. Refugees and host communities should not be left behind.
The achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems of a humanitarian character is a core purpose of the United Nations, as set out in its Charter, and is in line with the principle of sovereign equality of States.1 Similarly, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention) recognizes that a satisfactory solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation, as the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries. 2 It is vital to translate this long-standing principle into concrete and practical action, including through widening the support base beyond those countries that have historically contributed to the refugee cause through hosting refugees or other means.
Against this background, the global compact on refugees intends to provide a basis for predictable and equitable burden- and responsibility-sharing among all United Nations Member States, together with other relevant stakeholders as appropriate, including but not limited to: international organizations within and outside the United Nations system, including those forming part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; other humanitarian and development actors; international and regional financial institutions; regional organizations; local authorities; civil society, including faith-based organizations; academics and other experts; the private sector; media; host community members and refugees themselves (hereinafter “relevant stakeholders”).
The global compact is not legally binding. Yet it represents the political will and ambition of the international community as a whole for strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected host countries. It will be operationalized through voluntary contributions to achieve collective outcomes and progress towards its objectives, set out in para 7 below. These contributions will be determined by each State and relevant stakeholder, taking into account their national realities, capacities and levels of development, and respecting national policies and priorities.